Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Steve Smith left out of Australia’s T20 World Cup squad

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Australia have dropped Steve Smith and overlooked rising star Jake Fraser-McGurk for this summer’s T20 World Cup.

England’s Group B rivals named their 15-man squad on Wednesday, firming up Mitch Marsh’s interim captaincy after three series in charge and making a couple of knife-edge selections which could determine how they fare in the West Indies and the United States.

For the first time since 2014 they have opted to go without Smith, who offers huge experience as a reliable top-order run-scorer but lacks the explosive power-hitting expected to dominate the tournament.

The 34-year-old had two innings against New Zealand in February but knocks of 11 and four failed to make a dent on the selectors. Conversely, Smith’s fellow veteran David Warner has been retained for a last hurrah at the expense of Fraser-McGurk.

The pair are team-mates at IPL franchise Delhi Capitals, with the younger man hammering 259 runs off just 111 balls in his six matches to date, with 23 sixes along the way. Warner has been relatively becalmed by comparison, and has latterly suffered with a hand injury, but was deemed to have enough credit in the bank to hold his spot.

Elsewhere, Ashton Agar was included as a second specialist spinner to support Adam Zampa and Nathan Ellis took the final seam bowling slot.

National selector George Bailey said Smith and Fraser-McGurk were among a handful of individuals who came close, but was confident about the final calls.

“Being constrained to a squad of 15 for World Cups is always a challenge given the different scenarios and options we’d like to cover,” he said.

“Steve Smith, Matt Short, Jason Behrendorff, Aaron Hardie, Spencer Johnson and Xavier Bartlett were all part of long conversations, along with several others, including Jake Fraser-McGurk who is yet to play T20 International cricket but continues to impress and is developing rapidly.

“Ultimately the balance of the final 15 needs to provide the best chance of being successful in this campaign. This is an experienced squad with extensive World Cup experience that offers a variety of structures and covers the scenarios the panel believes will factor in the West Indies with the unique nature of the venues and our opponents.”

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